Why you shouldn't click on celebs' nude pics
03 September 2014, 10:28
Nairobi - The publication of nude photos of over 100 Hollywood stars - the vast majority of them women - is not only a violation of their human rights, but every viewing and post of the images is an act of sexual violence.
Nude pictures of a litany of actresses, most notably that of Oscar-winner and Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, were published to 4chan on Sunday. A spokesperson for J-Law has confirmed the authenticity of the nude photos, and said the hacker obtained the pictures through her private iCloud account.
The response to the leaked nude photos is typical, and has seen the young actress slut-shamed and victim-blamed in virtually every comment thread about the mass photo leak. Commenters ask, "Why did she take the photos if she didn't want them to be seen?" This argument is equivalent to suggesting that a woman asks or deserves to be raped for wearing revealing clothing.
Yet more commenters argue that she shouldn't have taken the pictures in the first place, and the mass leak was bound to happen and thus ultimately J-Law's fault. This 'logic' can be found in rape cases around the world - that anyone but the perpetrator of a sexual crime is responsible for the crime itself. This despite the fact that taking nude photos of yourself is not a criminal action.
It is significant that these pictures are by and large of women, as there are little consequences for men who bare their bodies. Where nude images of men were released on Sunday, they are alongside a naked woman, making them little more than collateral damage.
The mass leak of the nude photos of these actresses is no less than an act of sexual violence, and the hacker is nothing less than a sexual offender.
The hacker intentionally infiltrated and violated the privacy and dignity of every single one of the Hollywood stars whose photos were leaked. The hacking, posting and every subsequent posting and viewing of these pictures is an act of sexual violence on spectrum that includes the creation and distribution of revenge porn and rape where women's autonomy and bodily integrity are routinely undermined.
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Why? Because of consent.
Sexual violence is defined as "any sexual act that is perpetrated against someone's will", and includes non-contact sexual abuse like voyeurism (peeping Toms) or " behavioral sexual harassment; threats of sexual violence to accomplish some other end; or taking nude photographs of a sexual nature of another person without his or her consent or knowledge".
It is non-negotiable that these pictures were stolen and subsequently published without J-Law's consent. The fact that publishing the pictures is a sexual act also goes without saying - any 4chan comment thread clearly illustrates the sexual nature of this event, as men comment and dissect every aspect of J-Law's body for their personal fap material.
In fact, anyone who re-publishes or views such pictures should be considered a sexual offender, as every such action is done without the consent of the woman concerned. These non-consensual sexual violations and the excuses made to hide the fact that these violations are just that, form part of a greater narrative of rape culture and violence against women. And for rape culture and sexual violence to thrive we need only the simple notion that women lose the right to make choices about their body simply by being women. Our own bodies are used against us as tools to humiliate, shame and silence us.
As Roxane Gay wrote for the Guardian, the nude photo leak "is meant to remind women of their place."
"Don’t get too high and mighty, ladies. Don’t step out of line. Your bared body can always be used as a weapon against you. "